JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – For nearly 50 years the Jackson Interfaith Shelter has served as a place for people in need to come and stay temporarily. It’s a mission started by Beverly Garges and her heart to help the homeless in Jackson.

“One winter some of the gentlemen that she was investing in were living outside on the streets. She would bring sandwiches to them and things like that, and one of them actually froze to death on the streets in the mid-70s, so that’s how Interfaith Shelter started so that hopefully that would never happen again,” said Executive Director of the Jackson Interfaith Shelter, Steve Castle.

Garges passed away a few years ago, but her hope for the community carries on. This comes as the shelter says they’re serving around five thousand meals a month, and with cold temperatures here they are nearing capacity. That’s why they are working to provide employment support on-site with the goal to keep beds open.

“Really we try to move people forward fairly quickly with getting employment and getting them housing so we’ve also seen a lot of people leaving for positive destinations which is great because we want people here to move forward quickly so if somebody is in an emergency there’s a space for where we can help anyone in need,” said Castle.

The shelter says right now there are a few needs they could use the community’s help with, starting with warm blankets.

“We have about 700 people a year stay here so if you think of that many blankets and sheets especially in the winter when you are needing those extra blankets you are going through a lot more of those and then heavy men’s winter gloves you know those that either work outside or in the streets that can be the difference of losing a limb or not and so we want to make sure we can give those away to anybody in the community,” said Castle.

The shelter says it is also looking for volunteers this winter. This includes everything from helping to watch a child for a few hours to serving meals.